DEAR ABBY: I am a divorced man with two terrific kids, ages 6 and 8. During the past year, my ex-wife married a man whose previous wife passed away from cancer. "Roger" has two young girls from his first marriage. I am pleased that my ex-wife has found someone with whom I feel comfortable, and who seems to care for my children as well as his own.
Because their mother is deceased, Roger's children refer to my ex-wife as their mother, not their stepmother. I understand that, but now my children have begun calling Roger "Dad." Before the marriage, they called him by his first name. They call me "Daddy," but I am never sure whether it is me or their stepfather they are referring to when they say "Dad."
I love my children with all my heart and am very involved in their lives. I never miss their plays, recitals, games, etc. I respect and acknowledge their stepfather's position, but I feel it is confusing and improper for my children to refer to him as "Dad." Please tell me what you think. I value your opinion. -- REAL DAD IN JEW JERSEY
DEAR REAL DAD: Your children have found a way to accommodate you and their new family. While the terms may seem uncomfortably similar to you, if you asked them, I'm sure they could reassure you that they have distinct definitions of "Dad" and "Daddy." As long as you remain actively involved in their lives, you will always be their No. 1 Daddy. Treasure that, and allow Roger to have his place.